Former Alternate Director of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Gubernatorial Campaign Council in Bayelsa State, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe and a former chairman of the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, Dr. Ebikitin Diongoli, have led their numerous supporters back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The APC chieftains were on Monday evening welcomed into the PDP by Governor Douye Diri at the Government House in Yenagoa.
The Bayelsa governor described their return as the right thing to do given their long-standing affiliation with the party before they left.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, in a statement on Tuesday quoted him as saying that their eventual return and reception by the government and the party was a divine arrangement.
Governor Diri described the returnees as people with immense electoral value and expressed the optimism that they will contribute positively to development of the party and the state.
He noted that the PDP in Bayelsa was gradually moving back to the days where a victory in the party’s primary election was as good as victory in the main election and urged party members to remain steadfast.
The state’s helmsman called on those remaining in the opposition to retrace their steps, saying the PDP made virtually all politicians in the state and was still large enough to accommodate those desirous of coming back.
Speaking on the abandoned Sabagreia/Polaku bridge project in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, the governor said contrary to speculations that the government was not interested in its completion, it was actually in talks with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which is the agency handling the project.
He explained that the government was ready to support the completion of the project but can only do so with the consent of the interventionist agency, assuring that a decision will be reached soon and the bridge, which he described as crucial to the Kolokuma/Opokuma people, will see the light of day.
His words: “On behalf of your government and party, I join the Deputy Chairman of our party to welcome you back to where you rightly belong. I thank you for making up your mind. It would have been a mistake if you did not return.
“Let me also thank all those that facilitated this. I kept receiving the reports and prayed that God makes it happen. This is indeed a divine arrangement.
“We welcome you back and on behalf of your party, all your rights are restored. Very soon we will receive you and all your followers.
“We want to go back to the old PDP where you win the party’s ticket and it feels like you have already won the election. We call on all those that left and are in the opposition to come back.
“I have been told about the Sabagreia/Polaku bridge. We have been waiting for the constitution of the board of the NDDC to discuss with and possibly take over the construction of that bridge.
“Given the fact that time is running out, we have spoken with the interim administrator of the NDDC. We cannot just jump in and take over. It has to be with their consent and I can assure you that the process is on.”
Earlier, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe said returning to the PDP was like coming back home and that he felt like a stranger in the APC.
He lauded Governor Diri for his inclusive leadership style, which also puts the interest of the state ahead of any personal or sectional considerations.
Brisibe assured that they were back in the party to contribute to its growth and the development of the state.
Also, Dr. Ebikitin Diongoli said their leaving the PDP was a loan move as in professional football, saying they were back to their original party to give their best to enable it succeed.
In his remarks, the state PDP Deputy Chairman, Mr. Nengi Tubonah, said the PDP was big enough to accommodate everyone, noting that it had made people more than any other party in Nigeria.
He said their return was timely given the fact that they had a governor from the same local government area and who is delivering development to people of the state.
Tubonah assured that they will be absorbed into the party once again.